Maria of To Be A Naturlista writes:

I’m willing to bet the number one concern, or at least in the the top three, among the online black hair community is hair growth and retaining that length once gained. There are countless threads, blogs, vlogs and groups challenges dedicated to getting hair as long as possible. Women have admitted to swallowing vitamins, hormones, using hair growth oils, lotions, magic potions and shampoos made for horses all in the name of growing their hair. While certain vitamins do aid in the growth of hair, the point many miss is that vitamins serve as a supplement for what is lacking in one’s diet. In other words, poor nutrition and diet can affect the growth of our hair and while vitamins can step in temporarily, a more permanent fix is alteration to our diets that will result not only in healthier hair, but healthier people.

Just like a positive, permanent change in diet can result in a healthier body overall, exercise not only benefits our our shape but the growth of our hair as well. Regular cardio can mitigate conditions caused by hormone imbalance. Additionally it can lower and or eliminate one’s chances for diabetes. Hair loss is a symptom of diabetes. But be careful about what type of exercise you choose. All too often, when visiting my gym, I watch newbies, who are visually in need of exercise, go straight to the Nautlius room and proceed to concentrate on assisted weight lifting with all their might as a means to avoid running and other cardio. But consistent heavy weight lifting has been found to be a culprit of hair loss.

Additional forms of exercise noted for having a direct effect on promoting hair growth includes yoga. Yoga poses such as the downward dog and head stands allow blood to flow to the scalp. Hair follicles require a constant optimal blood flow to get nutrients and oxygens that stimulate hair growth. So even if you are sallowing tons of vitamins twice a day, if you have something restricting your blood flow such as high cholesterol, those pills may not even matter.

A 2008 study conducted by Columbia University found 31% of African American women sampled said they avoided exercise because it would interfere with their hair styles. While all the women acknowledged exercise is important, less than 25% actually met the CDC’s requirement for recommended exercise rates. It should then serve as no surprise that the American Obesity Association reports ”by race/ethnicity and sex the obesity prevalence was highest for non-Hispanic black women (39.0%) followed by non-Hispanic black men (32.1%).” Taking this into account, we need, more than anyone else in this country, to take a serious re-evalutation of what we are putting in our mouths and how we respect our body.

What does that mean for naturals? Because our hair choice thrives off of moisture, our hair is no excuse for not exercising. The benefits of exercise overwhelmingly out weigh any cons an extra wash session or two per week may offer: exercise along with a healthy diet promotes weight loss, prevents heart disease and diabetes, make us feel better both physically and mentally plus, it helps our hair grow!